BP drug hope for patients with MS

A drug used to treat BP and heart failure may be able to reduce the symptoms of MS, UK research suggests.

Amiloride might reduce nerve tissue degeneration in MS sufferers
Amiloride might reduce nerve tissue degeneration in MS sufferers

The discovery that the drug amiloride, a potassium-sparing diuretic, can reduce the degeneration of nerve tissue offers fresh hope for MS sufferers.

The researchers hypothesised that the acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC1) plays a role in the development of MS.

ASIC1 works by gauging acid levels around the cell and fluxes sodium and calcium molecules into and out of cells accordingly. This function is an important part of the process of sensing pain and touch.

Using mice with a condition that mimics some aspects of the human form of MS, the researchers found that the ASIC1 channel contributes to degeneration of the nerve axon.

The next step was to identify drugs that could target the ASIC1 channel.

The heart failure drug amiloride is a known ASIC1 antagonist. MS mice were injected daily with amiloride for a number of weeks.

Those injected with the drug showed reduced axonal degeneration compared with mice that had not been injected.

Lead researcher Professor Lars Fugger, of the Medical Research Council human immunology unit at the University of Oxford, said: 'When sodium and calcium levels accumulate in excessive proportions within nerve cells the axon becomes damaged. We found this damage was reduced in mice given amiloride. The drug works by blocking the action of the channel that lets sodium and calcium molecules into the cell.'

Using established drugs in new ways is cheaper than starting the discovery process from scratch, added Professor Fugger.

The research team is planning a clinical trial that will aim to find out if amiloride is beneficial in treating MS in humans.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Nature Medicine Online 2007

Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Shielded patients and care home residents to receive free vitamin D

Shielded patients and care home residents to receive free vitamin D

Patients on the shielding list and care homes are to be provided with free vitamin...

LMCs demand renegotiation of COVID-19 enhanced service deal

LMCs demand renegotiation of COVID-19 enhanced service deal

LMCs have called for a renegotiation of funding for the COVID-19 vaccination enhanced...

LMCs demand ballot of profession on PCN DES ahead of next contract talks

LMCs demand ballot of profession on PCN DES ahead of next contract talks

LMCs have demanded a ballot of GPs on the primary care network (PCN) DES before BMA...

Lack of support left locums at physical and financial risk in pandemic, say LMCs

Lack of support left locums at physical and financial risk in pandemic, say LMCs

Locum GPs have faced significant physical and financial risk because of a lack of...

LMCs demand NHS England apology over ‘abhorrent' claims about general practice

LMCs demand NHS England apology over ‘abhorrent' claims about general practice

LMCs have called on NHS England to apologise for ‘abhorrent and insulting’ suggestions...

CCGs to be stripped of commissioning role under reforms backed by NHS England

CCGs to be stripped of commissioning role under reforms backed by NHS England

CCGs could be stripped of their commissioning role under plans set out by NHS England,...